A chatbot is a conversational agent, a program that imitates human conversation. Its aim is to help users (quickly find the information they need). Today, chatbots are highly developed, they understand not only typing but speech as well (let’s remember Siri and Alexa). And, of course, they are so popular today, that you can meet them nearly everywhere. The majority of digital products that presuppose communication with users have a chatbot.
There are two main types of chatbots: the ones that use a specific set of commands and the ones that are based on AI and machine learning. The difference is that to use the first type of chatbots you should know these commands. Otherwise, they will not understand you as the ability to interact with a user is limited. Using the second type of chatbots is a bit easier — they learn to improve their results. They so to say understand human language.
With the increased interest in chatbots the role of technical writers has broadened. But in this case they may be called ‘conversational designers’, ‘chatbot writers’, ‘creative writers’, or anything else. The role of these people is to build a human-chatbot conversation. It is not that easy as it may seem first. You are to make the answers of the chatbot more human and, of course, you are to take into consideration various aspects that may require special approach — economical, religious, cultural, and many more questions. Along with this a chatbot should be engaging. That definitely requires a great deal of creativity!
One of the most time-consuming processes is to organize and structure databases for the chatbot. That’s how it works: chatbots use language processing technologies and/or, as was mentioned above, machine learning. They identify the semantic content to understand what the user is talking about. After that the chatbot is looking for the content in question in the database. To make the results of the search precise, one has to create a huge repository of data. Carefully gathered and well-organized information guarantees quick, efficient, and precise results. Very often chatbots ask questions to specify the details. It is a common practice and contributes to better quality of the search results.
One more thing should be mentioned: the increased popularity of voice-controlled chatbots. Instead of looking for something and typing, you can ask the chatbot to give you the results. That`s a great function. It saves you time and effort. It is obvious that chatbots have a great future. But is it possible that they can replace some jobs, apps, and many other things and become the basis of technical communication? At the moment I would say no. They help us and make our lives more convenient. It is true. But they are not sustainable enough to perform the functions that require higher developed abilities.
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Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors